Wednesday, 1 February 2012

strange landscape

There's a spot along the Slough arm I love to moor at if I'm passing this way. It's at what must have been an old wharf, on the non-towpath side, nestling among bramble bushes, ash and elder trees and the few remains of some crumbling building. Once moored up, the only way to the towpath is across a couple of acres of strangely churned up ground, all little hills and valleys and through a small wood to a bridge.
The last time I stopped by, it was all green and lovely. There's a river running along one side.

Now of course, it's winter and bare but other, bigger changes have come. The land has been raked over and all the tufty trees pulled up as though preparing it to be flattened and built on or something
Survivors are these strange spiky teasel-like plants.

What's exposed is something we caught glimpses of before - that the land was once a huge rubbish dump, from pre-plastic days. The place is stuffed with old glass bottles; some are milk, lemonade, beer bottles, others are old medecine, scent and poison bottles.

There is also masses of broken china, earthenware dishes, storage jugs and teapots. And my favourite - rusting metal pots, pans and kettles

Whatever's coming for this patch of land, it probably doesn't bode well for the wildlife.
I was lucky enough to see a lovely muntjac deer snuffling among branches, just near the boat. I also saw rabbits and heard foxes and owls at night. There are badger sets in the bankside and squirrels leaping about in the woods. I suppose the kind of rubbish dumped here many years ago, wasn't so much the kind that leached chemicals and plastics into the land and rivers?
I imagine animals already have a precarious existence between the nearby motorway and local industries which seem to include a quarry, rubbish tip and incinerator. Everywhere, our wild creatures are being squeezed out. Wish I could buy the land and just leave it alone but then I'd be wanting to do that everywhere.
After all the grey winter pics, thought I'd include a cheery, colourful one to remind me that spring is almost here! Thanks to a dear boaty friend for her gift of daffodils :-)


Anonymous said...

Muntjak might look nice.
They can , and do bite; and will kill a dog with their antlers !

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's hard to imagine! They are only the size of a dog and their little horns don't look up to much.
I don't like or dislike any animal for defending its life, young or territory as I think most animals do, don't they? (including our dog companions!)

grey wolf said...

If the teasel like plants have there pods at the branching of 2 stems then they might be the poisonous plant which i think is called a thorn apple.We had one growing in our back garden.The rubbish site looks to be a treasure trove of history with all the items of yesteryear.Fingers crossed it is being cleared by a wildlife group or gets shelved in this recession.

Anonymous said...

Grey wolf, that's right, it IS thorn apple, thanks for letting me know.
And quite a toxic plant according to wikipedia! There was me, glad that something had survived the raking over of the land! Seems it thrives after the soil has been distrubed.
By the way, I have the old blue teapot on my roof. I couldn't quite bear to leave it behind :-)

grey wolf said...

I think the plant is one used by the mystics in India at one time and misused in the west to get high but yes it is said to be be poisonous to us at least,the birds and other wild creatures may well be immune to it's effect though.

Glad at least that you have saved that pot because it as like as not end up in a skip somewhere if cleared by contractors.